SA must tackle inequality to achieve social cohesion

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cape Town – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa must tackle inequality and poverty by growing the economy and create jobs in order to achieve social cohesion.

Answering questions for oral reply at the National Assembly on Wednesday, the Deputy President said South Africa had done a lot to achieve social cohesion through sport – including through the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He said through fighting the social ills of joblessness, racial class inequality and poverty, social cohesion can be achieved.

“The most effective way to promote social cohesion amongst our people is to address those issues that militate against the achievement of social cohesion and those issues that continue to divide communities that contribute to the prevalence of mistrust and that undermine a sense of social solidarity.

“This in many ways goes to the heart of what this administration is all about.

“If we want to advance social cohesion, we have to do a number of things, and some of those are to address the issue of poverty, unemployment and inequality because in many ways these impede the achievement of social cohesion.

“We therefore need to accelerate economic growth and ensure that the benefits of growth are equitably shared by all,” he said.

With the country’s unemployment currently standing at alarming levels of 25.4% as per third quarter data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the Deputy President said it was very important that more jobs are created and that exclusion based on race, gender, age and disability is uprooted.

He said the country also needed to address landlessness and homelessness to ensure that apartheid spacial planning divisions are overcome.

The Deputy President said the country also needed to confront diseases such as HIV and Aids and Tuberculosis as they continue to kill many

Government was doing a lot to combat crime and the abuse of elderly women and children around the country, he said.

“We are doing a lot to combat racism and xenophobia because these perpetuate divisions and fuel conflict.

“We continue to take steps to address corruption in both the public and private sectors, which erodes confidence and trust.

“There is now a pressing need to join our people to work together to enable South Africa to promote high levels of growth and employment and reduce poverty and inequality,” he said.   

Responding to a supplementary question from Reverend Kenneth Meshoe on how government could use sport to promote social cohesion, the Deputy President said several initiatives were underway, led by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, to forge cohesion using sport from school level all the way to professional leagues across several sporting codes.

He said Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa also had several programmes and campaigns that were being rolled out to promote cohesion at a cultural level as well. –